World news story

UK and Thailand promote blockchain for IP management

Jointly organised focus group explores use of blockchain to improve Thailand's business ecosystem.

Focus group on enhancing intellectual property management by blockchain

Focus group: Enhancing intellectual property management by blockchain

The Thai Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) and the British Embassy in Bangkok jointly organised a focus group meeting on the topic ‘Enhancing Intellectual Property Management by Blockchain’. Thammasat University acted as an adviser for the project.

Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, is one of the areas where the UK is partnering the government of Thailand to support its effort in improving the business environment. The British Embassy in Thailand believes that blockchain has great potential to improve the business ecosystem in many areas including Intellectual Property (IP) management.

H.E. Mr. Brian Davidson said that the UK is a strong supporter of free trade, open competition and new technology adoption to create a more enabling business environment. Therefore, the British Embassy is very pleased to work closely with the Ministry of Commerce and Thammasat University on this project to explore potential use cases of blockchain technology for putting IP to commercialisation.

Delagates from Ministry of Commerce and the British Embassy at Blockchain focus group
Ministry of Commerce and the British Embassy join forces to promote blockchain for intellectual property management

Blockchain technology

Blockchain technology can revolutionise or disrupt the economy, society, and politics in an unprecedented manner, including the area of public administration and public service provision, said Ms Pimchanok Vonkorpon, Director-General, Trade Policy and Strategy Office, Ministry of Commerce.

Importance characteristics of blockchain are:

  • increasing transparency
  • the ability to send information to many stakeholders in the chain at the same time
  • difficulty in changing information once it is entered into the system

These will enable blockchain to create ‘Trust Building’ which is an integral part of the digital era trade ecosystem.

Focus group meeting on blockchain

TPSO believes that blockchain can be applied in many use cases that the Ministry of Commerce is responsible for especially those that involve registration, traceability, ownership, e-commerce, trade facilitation, among others.

Pimchanok said blockchain has great potential in reducing risk of fraud or contractual dispute between contracting parties and also lowering costs of transactions for SMEs and traders.

Therefore, TPSO has initiated study projects that explore feasibility of using blockchain technology in several areas including:

  • trade facilitation
  • intellectual property
  • agriculture

Today’s (31 January 2019) seminar focuses on the study of how blockchain can support intellectual property (IP) management.

This project received financial support from the British Embassy and was conducted with Professor Dr. Arnat Leemakdej, Director of the Center of Intellectual Property and Business Incubator, Thammasat University as a project adviser.

Dr Arnat said that blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that can store various types of transaction data on the decentralised network by ensuring that the collected data is accurate, complete, secure, immutable and verifiable.

Blockchain technology can possibly be applied to enhance IP management by:

  • keeping IP registration data and IP transactions that detect evidence of ownership and authentication
  • identifying or authenticating a creator who owns the creatorship or the licensee

A smart contract provides a self-executed agreement between the parties and can be utilised to manage the whole process of IP from filing to licensing. Together with other technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things) IP management in Thailand can be significantly improved.

Eight possible projects are proposed under this feasibility study and are divided into 2 stages:

  • quick win projects (1 year)
  • intermediate-term projects (2 to 3 years)

For quick win projects, existing IP database in the IP Mart system of the Department of Intellectual Property will be imported into public blockchain.

The other quick win project is to study and develop standard to store copyright database on blockchain focusing on literary works by collaborating with e-book service providers.

Several intermediate term projects are proposed, such as a project:

  • to evaluate IP values
  • to develop a system for Geographical Indication (GI) registration and management, including traceability system

In addition, there are proposals to develop IP management system on blockchain network for patents, trademarks and copyrights that include IP registration, IP right transfer, IP licence management, IP enforcement and IP as collateral using.

Ms. Pimchanok said,

TPSO will follow up and discuss with relevant organisations and stakeholders to seek collaboration for actual implementation of the project proposals.

We strongly hope to put blockchain into practice to enable Thai businesses and IP management to be up on par in the intensifying disruptive world.

Published 4 March 2019